Saturday, June 14, 2008

Some interesting highlights from the GOP platform

The Republican Party adopted its platform yesterday. Here are a few interesting highlights:

* Most of the core elements of the platform are the same as in prior years, though they are expressed a bit differently.

* Like the Democratic platform, the GOP document calls for increased consumer protections for eminent domain. Both, however, ignore the question of whether property owners should get compensated for diminished access to their property, which was why Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the bill.

* Speaking of vetoes, the platform endorses Rep. Gary Elkins’s (R-Houston) amendment calling for a three-day veto override session after the regular session has concluded. Perry is not attacked by name, but this is one of several examples of some very subtle messages the grassroots are sending to the governor.

* The platform calls for reforming and eliminating anonymous complaints at the Texas Medical Board. In other words, the GOP convention is taking sides in a very complicated fight between Houston physician Steve Hotze and the medical board, which The Lone Star Report has profiled in past articles.

* The platform endorses “treatment pending transfer” for those facing the end of life – a mandate that requires hospitals and physicians to continue life-sustaining treatment upon request unless another facility can be found for the patient. Current law allows physicians to withdraw treatment they believe is medically inappropriate after notice and review by a hospital’s ethics or medical committee.

* The platform condemns legislative efforts to mess with the elected State Board of Education and expressly opposes both trying to take power over the Permanent School Fund away from the board and replacing textbooks with computerized laptops.

* The platform expressly calls for repeal of the tax on gross margins.

* The platform opposes giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, calls for binding audits of institutions of higher learning by the comptroller, and calls for a complete review of the tuition deregulation law.

* The gambling provision is one of the strongest ever in the GOP platform. It opposes all forms of expanded gambling and lists almost all of the ones under consideration by name, in case legislators are unclear on the concept.

* The platform calls for an investigation of “any public official” who has used eminent domain or foreign funding for the Trans-Texas Corridor.

* The platform is probably the most socially conservative in a long time, which is saying a lot for the GOP. Homosexuality is described as a practice that “tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases.” Affirmative action is described as “racism disguised as a social value.”

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